Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Destiny Bertucci, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing: An Escapist Fantasy?

Cloud computing will need to automate IT processes and kludge

Before we get to carried away with the cloud computing dream lets talk about the fundamental challenges in the network (manual labor and kludge) that may have a substantial impact on the shape of cloud computing, at least in the enterprise.

Newspapers were originally fed on presses manually one sheet at a time.  Telephones were once connected via legions of operators connecting callers (one at a time) with cables and plugs; and today computer networks are still managed by legions of manual administrators who configure network appliances and manage IP addresses as endpoints are added or moved or networks are acquired.   Yet can cloud computing really take that pain away?

How cloud evolves will be partly driven by technical limitations and partly by business case economics; and the way in which cloud is adopted may have a significant impact on the market caps of a host of networking and IT powerhouses, from Cisco and Juniper to Microsoft, IBM and F5 Networks.  

That may be part of the reason behind IBM's recent launch of its own dynamic infrastructure meme in early 2009.  At this point, cloud positioning may be everything.

Is Cloud an IT Escapist Fantasy?
Part of the attraction of cloud computing is its ability to decouple IT services from hardware, especially the kludge works of silos and processes and administrators needed to do everyday network tasks, from adding a printer to a network, reclaiming an IP address or even provisioning a new network. Very few companies have audited how much is wasted on such tasks, even as they are relentlessly squeezing costs out of supply chains.  

They may be the cloud dream's most promising market: those so out of touch with the micro expenses and delays within their network that everything else looks cheap and flexible.  For them, the promise of cloud offers an escape from the nightmare of a thousand cuts.  

The question is really to what extent the cloud leaders, including Google, Amazon and others have really addressed these problems.  Or are they simply writing off these costs as insignificant because the revenue generated is still insignificant?

All of these common network tasks (and many others) require ongoing human intervention and thus drive up network costs as networks continue to grow.  They also impact a networks availability and ability to address new requirements.  As long as networks are islands of manual, anachronistic tools to what benefit are mobile servers and endpoints?  They cannot move very far without manual intervention, pigeonholing the very benefits of virtualization... in a very un-cloudlike manner.

The Free Hypervisor Illusion
Perhaps the most significant contribution made to the IT industry in recent years has been the hypervisor (and VMotion) and its ability to decouple software from hardware; and offer the potential to decouple IT services from hardware, which is the promise of cloud.  VMware, Citrix and Microsoft have led the way, now to be joined by Red Hat.

While these virtualization vendors play with predatory pricing, the real payoffs are perhaps delivered by the partner ecosystems.  That's why hypervisor-based pricing may miss the point.  It's really what you can do with that hypervisor that drives the value.  That's why VMware has an enviable position, despite the Microsoft and recent Citrix price-centric marketing moves.

VMware is also further along in technology, features and deployments.  VMware's relationship with Cisco and the other ecosystem power players could be a second advantage and be a driver behind the Microsoft and Citrix alliance of necessity.  Then where does that leave Juniper and IBM?  Perhaps in a similar alliance.

If the likes of VMware, Cisco and F5 Networks (and others) can deliver the connectivity intelligence that would allow networks to automatically keep up with the status of a VM, it will be a massive payoff that could impact the market caps off all involved.  They could, in effect, drive the manual expense out of the network and establish new economies of scale and performance.

It seems likely that connectivity intelligence will require the cooperation of multiple players, including Infoblox (my employer).  Core network service automation may be step one; yet step two would likely involve the deployment of IF-Map.  

The bottom line is that the more expense that can be driven out of the network the more gear the vendors will sell and the lesser the business case for the coming cloud disruption with or without an economic rebound.  Free gear could cost more in management and consulting and merely hide the core problems even further.

It's Not the Economy, Just Economics
Management (not hardware) costs have been increasing as data centers and networks grow, thanks to CIO preoccupations with systems, applications and endpoints and perhaps more recently, tight budgets.  Many executives, however, are not aware of the often hidden sources of the operational costs of the network, which are often scattered (and hidden) among infrastructure budgets, help desk budgets, server teams, network teams and/or checklist committees.  

These costs grow every year under the canopy of business as usual while the common denominator is really an ironic inability to deliver automation where it could really make a difference... on the network.  That's right; the network may be one of the last bastions of manual labor in the modern enterprise; and it is a critical factor in the proliferation of many types of cloud computing.

While systems pros dream about the day when virtual machines can follow the moon (e.g. VMs move from one cloudplex to another chasing cheap evening electrical power around the world) networking pros are already under siege from more endpoints, more manual processes and more business operations risks.  It is this disconnect between the cloud computing buzz and the reality of life managing a network (where most endpoints don't yet move) that ignited the Infrastructure 2.0 conversation.

Dreaming Isn't Free
Many enterprise network pros will spend 30 minutes to an hour each on many of these common, routine kludge tasks; and perhaps wait for a few days each time for approvals from various teams or departments for a final go ahead. The idea of systems and endpoints going mobile is understandably more of a horror (given the network operations resources required to connect and keep up with static resources) than a dream for those responsible for maintaining the integrity of the network.

Those who grasp the potentially threatening gap between system and endpoint mobility and static networks requiring ever higher rates of manual intervention will either drive for core network services automation or keep the cloud genie contained within dozens (if not hundreds) of VLAN bottles, called virtualization-lite.  The latter scenario I've called The CIO Shell Game.

That's why I think cloud computing is really a code word for dynamic systems, storage and infrastructure. And you need all three. Cloud computing without a network capable of keeping up is merely a fantasy propped up out of frustration with the "kludgenomics" of today's increasingly expensive infrastructure.

As much as the headlines about the economy may convince us otherwise, cloud is more likely an artifact of rising management costs more than a weak global economy.  I think the vendors who minimize those costs via automation will win.  Those who simply try to discount their hardware as a way to make room for the operational pain will lose.

I am a senior director at Infoblox. You can follow my comments in real time at www.twitter.com/archimedius.

More Stories By Greg Ness

Gregory Ness is the VP of Marketing of Vidder and has over 30 years of experience in marketing technology, B2B and consumer products and services. Prior to Vidder, he was VP of Marketing at cloud migration pioneer CloudVelox. Before CloudVelox he held marketing leadership positions at Vantage Data Centers, Infoblox (BLOX), BlueLane Technologies (VMW), Redline Networks (JNPR), IntruVert (INTC) and ShoreTel (SHOR). He has a BA from Reed College and an MA from The University of Texas at Austin. He has spoken on virtualization, networking, security and cloud computing topics at numerous conferences including CiscoLive, Interop and Future in Review.

@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...